Posts Tagged ‘Action’

Review: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

July 2, 2011

First there was Transformers, which was bearable. Next came Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which sucked. And now Michael Bay and his team gives us Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which is more of the same, but without Megan Fox. However, with a slightly better cast than the first two films in the Transformers franchise, and with Michael Bay slightly less incompetent, this film might be worth your time.

As the story goes… Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeuf) is a jobless loser, living off of his Megan Fox replacement girlfriend (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), until Jerry “Wang” (Ken Jeong) approaches him in a bathroom stall, at which point havoc begins to ensue. Transformers: Dark of the Moon features a lot of badass Autobots (Good robots) and Decepticons (Bad robots) fighting, conspiracies, explosions, and Patrick Dempsey as a bad guy. Frances McDormand and John Malkovich are additionally notable new cast members.

I noted above that Michael Bay, this film’s director, displayed a little less incompetence than he had previously in the Transformers franchise. Credit where credit is due, there is a decent amount of good in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, starting first with the cast.

The addition of Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, and Ken Jeong, alongside the return highlights (John Turturro, Alan Tudyk, Kevin Dunn, Tyrese Gibson) goes a long way. There even is a great Bill O’Reilly cameo, which is highly amusing as O’Reilly mocks himself. Sans Megan Fox (Who I actually like in certain roles), every other mediocre actor from the previous films persist, Shia LaBeuf at that helm. But again, credit where credit is due, the new cast additions are very good.

On top of that, the special effects are phenomenal. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the film which makes it evident that video is no longer enough proof for any phenomenon. From this point onward, I can witness a supernatural event, catch it on film, but be laughed at as good with special effects. The Transformers, both Autobots and Decepticons, are pretty kickass. However, Tyrese Gibson says a line which I agree with wholeheartedly.

How come the Decepticons always get the good shit?

Seriously. Although Optimus Prime defines awesome, I’d feel much safer with Decepticons on my side.

Finally, the story isn’t all that half baked. Hat tip to Ehren Kruger to for writing the darkest film of the Transformers franchise. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is significantly darker than either of the previous two, and there is a lot of death. Parents need be forewarned before taking their kids to see this film. Chaos and death aside, there are a host of jokes throughout. Most fall flat, but the genuinely funny ones are spread thinly enough in the 2.5 hour runtime to keep my attention. Again, credit where credit is due. That said, I also believe in discredit where discredit is due. Enter the bad half of this film.

While the robots look amazing, most of their dialogue is exceptionally poor. It is all very adolescent. The robots used slang terms more than any of the humans. Words cannot express how terrible the robots’ dialogue is, it’s absurd. Thankfully, the same can’t be said for any of the human characters.

In the name of freedom…

Says Optimus Prime, who, instead of immature, is extremely patriotic with his words. Which is almost as bad as the adolescent dialogue from the other ‘bots. Transformers: Dark of the Moon would be a much better film if the robots had no dialogue, which is an unfortunate thing to say.

Another massive problem: The Angst!!! The drama between Shia LaBeuf’s character and Megan Fox’s replacement is borderline unbearable. That shizzle needs to be banned from cinema, but unfortunately, filmmakers believe that angst and/or drama is a requirement in every single film. It isn’t, but even then, it reaches a new low in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. On Megan Fox’s replacement, she has abnormally poofy lips, which I think might be the most distracting thing in this film. The bad kind of distracting.

And lastly, the soundtrack is a disaster. Almost no song matched its corresponding scene. Whoever is behind this soundtrack should hang their head in shame, and Michael Bay should hide under a rock for letting it slip by under his direction. It really is that bad… If not for the quality of the special effects, I’d guess that Transformers: Dark of the Moon was put together by interns.

So my advice? This film is slightly passable. When I say slightly, I mean a single hair above the line which separates avoid and see. It’s difficult to recommend Transformers: Dark of the Moon as a standard popcorn flick, due to its oft-dark nature. So see it, but be prepared to dislike this one if you intend to be judgmental. Otherwise, there are better films in the wild worth more of your time.

Review: X-Men: First Class

June 4, 2011

It seems as if every week in Summer of 2011, a new blockbuster film gets released to theatres. There have been very high and very low points thus far, and I went into X-Men: First Class with a hint of skepticism since every trailer left me wanting. Surprisingly, at more than two hours in length, the film itself left me wanting another two hours. I enjoyed the first three “X-Men” titles, but this prequel is out of bubblegum and kicks ass [YouTube Link]. Continue reading this review only if it won’t make you late to one of its showings.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, X-Men: First Class is a prequel, but not necessarily to the first instalments in the franchise — It’s how the X-Men became “X-Men” (If you don’t know who or what the heck X-Men are, read this). The first bit of the film surrounds the backstories of Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender), with the majority focused on the beginnings of the X-Men. Kevin Bacon stars as Sebastian Shaw, a wicked villain set on initiating a third World War. Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, and others co-star, and no one is safe as chaos ensues.

The most amazing thing about this film is the casting, which couldn’t have been more perfect. Between James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Kevin Bacon, X-Men: First Class is one of the most perfectly cast films I’ve seen in a long time. The aforementioned three are outstanding in their roles, and I can’t profess enough love for Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Magneto. Kevin Bacon inparticular was amazing as the bad guy — Truth be told, I think that Bacon should stick to playing roles as villains. He’s perfect as a bad guy no matter what the film.

That’s not to say the remainder of the cast weren’t good, I reiterate, all the casting was done perfectly. To nitpick tho, Jennifer Lawrence (who plays Raven/Mystique), as great as an actress as she is, doesn’t perform as well as the rest of the cast. Her character just doesn’t seem to fit as well as the rest, however that’s like saying tangerines aren’t quite as good as naval oranges. In other words, this point can be easily ignored.

The exact running time of X-Men: First Class is two hours and eleven minutes, which can seem like a long time, but I didn’t look at the time once. I honestly could have watched another two hours, because I was that drawn into the film. I was so drawn in, infact, that I didn’t manage to jot down a single note, and this review is being written with only my memory as a source. I can’t think of anything negative to say, other than my Jennifer Lawrence nitpick.

As of today, X-Men: First Class has thirteen showings from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM at the little movie theatre I go to (It kicked out a lot of films), so I’m sure, especially at bigger movie theatres, you can leave your home right now and catch a showing. It’s something that I suggest you do.

One last thing…

I apologise for this review being slightly vague… With this film inparticular, I don’t want to give too much away, you should experience what you can in first person. However, be forewarned, this is not a kids film. A lot of people die, and there are plenty of dark moments to go around. Proceed with caution if you’re considering taking young children to see this with you. Hire a babysitter. You’ve been warned. :-)

Review: Pirates of the Caribbean 4

May 21, 2011

Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl is what The Haunted Mansion wasn’t—An awesome film loosely based on an amusement park ride. And if recollection serves well, Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl didn’t end to yield a sequel. Money spoke, however, and two lackluster sequels followed. And if you stuck around to the end of the end credits of the third in the franchise, you might have believed that it was over. Nope. You may now enter Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow with his drunk pirate voice, which Penelope Cruz has a love/hate relationship with. Geoffrey Rush returns with one leg and Ian McShane plays the magical Black Beard. Forbidden love between a missionary (Sam Claflin) and a mermaid (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) is also featured. This isn’t a movie, this is a sitcom! Funnily enough, the audience with me laughed as if it were a sitcom, and with every joke I felt as if a laugh track button was being pushed. Fortunately my aura is viral and the person sitting next to me laughed two times less than I did.

All that said, as the story goes…

Captain Jack Sparrow is either searching for or has given up on searching for the Fountain Of Youth (It isn’t made clear). Due to some unfortunate events, however, Captain Jack is forced into locating the Fountain Of Youth for the legendary Black Beard pirate who can manipulate objects with his hand, sword, or ship (Another thing not made clear) and can level a ship with its crew in a minute. All the while both Spain and England are in pursuit of the Fountain Of Youth, and of course chaos ensues. Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides also features zombie pirates that aren’t really zombies, some pretty wicked mermaids, and Keith Richards sports a very random cameo as Captain Jack’s father.

This film has no focus, which is slightly better than the negative amount of focus in Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End, but still not good. This film wants to be a dozen things it isn’t, and to try and make it so, the runtime is an excruciatingly painful 2 hours and 17 minutes. From start to finish, I wasn’t sure if Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is meant to be an action film, a drama, or a comedy starring Johnny Depp. There is very little action, the romance is forced, and the jokes are only funny to people that will laugh at anything.

Further, most of this film is nothing but dialogue between characters. And Johnny Depp was present in all but maybe one scene. The only reason it isn’t titled Johnny Depp Is A Drunk Pirate is because that would only have niche appeal. More than two hours of Johnny Depp talking in his drunk pirate voice, which we enjoyed in the first film of this franchise, put up with in the second, and endured in the third. Tim Burton even had him carry that voice over into Alice In Wonderland, and I think we’ve had enough of it. Unfortunately, some producers disagree, and Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides features more than two hours of Depp talking to other actors.

Oh dear, must I mention Penelope Cruz? I think the woman has talent, but whatever talent she has is nullified here. And she is the love interest opposite Johnny Depp who, like Depp, makes her way into almost every scene. Her acting is terrible, the dialogue she has to work with is terrible, and her character’s back story is ridiculous at best.

One thing that highly amuses me is one scene, which exists so that Sam Claflin, the bible toting mermaid loving missionary can remove his shirt. I’m not kidding, the rest of the male cast is either too old or too ugly (Johnny Depp is not issued attractive makeup) for a topless scene, so one for Claflin was worked into the script. I have to wonder if a topless male is a requirement for Summer blockbusters. So far this year it’s three for three, and I’m just waiting for boobs to become socially acceptable so us dudes can pull some enjoyment out of PG-13 films. ;-)

(Send a letter to the MPAA asking why Titanic got a free pass.)

Walking out of the movie theatre, I thought to myself that Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is worse than the worst film this year, Red Riding Hood. Dwelling on it, this one is only slightly better, but not by much. If at least thirty minutes were cut, the romance was toned town, and there were more clarity & more action, I might have thoroughly enjoyed it. Until then, wait for the extended cut on DVD + Blu Ray. (It’s gonna happen)

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